The following is a guest post from Lisa Sharp of Retro Housewife Goes Green. Until last weekend, getting hooked on that U.S. map puzzle, I didn’t know Oklahoma was shaped like a jagged meat cleaver. Did you?
It’s not as easy as San Francisco. Now areas like Norman, Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Edmond are easier than the small town where I live.
Our farmer’s market is very small and isn’t year round. There is a year round, indoor farmers market in Oklahoma City, but that is around 80 miles from me.
Locally we have a very small natural food store, Wal-Mart, and a few locally-owned grocery stores. There is very little organic/natural food in this town. My husband and I drive around 60 miles once a month to do our grocery shopping in Norman in order to get organic, local and natural food.
One great thing we have is a dairy store called Braums (some of you in the south will know what it is). We get our milk there, as they do not use hormones or antibiotics. There are rumors that they are working on becoming certified organic. It’s much cheaper than organic milk, local and tastes great. I even went on a field trip to the farm while homeschooling. It’s very nice.
Other challenges to being green in not so green communities is recycling. We have no curbside and only recycle plastic #1 and #2, paper (junkmail, newspaper, cardboard and office paper), aluminum, and tin. I take my glass with me to Norman when we go each month. I have joined the local recycling coalition to hopefully help it become better.
Reusable bags are not commonplace in a town like this. Most people still deal with them fine but you will get a few dirty looks, something like “great another liberal hippy tree hugger!” Which is funny because I’m a registered Republican. My mom even had someone at the local Walgreens ask “what is going green?” Yes, she was serious. I have also been stopped in Wal-Mart because they thought I was stealing when I used my bag. And I had to tell the greeter not to put a sticker on my cloth bag because I wasn’t returning it; I was using it for groceries.
While the challenges of going green in a state like Oklahoma are much different and often larger than states like California, we are getting there. I think all of us in places like this need to be very open about our green lifestyle (not pushy of course) and lead by example. There are groups like the Oklahoma Sustainability Network that are working to help make a more sustainable Oklahoma.
Oklahoma is a wonderful state for wind power and we are starting to build more wind farms. Our power company OG&E is working to upgrade our power lines to handle wind power better.
Oklahoma is also a leading state for geothermal. When drilling for oil they almost always find the pockets of heat. Oklahoma will hopefully start tapping in to all our wonderful resources.
So don’t get discouraged if you are living in a community like mine. Get involved and help make your community more sustainable. Don’t wait for others to start the movement.